Seibur was the first bar on the now bustling Bassac Lane. The breezy, open-fronted venue was the brainchild of New Zealand architect William Norbert-Munns, who – with brother George – sparked the lane’s evolution into a cocktail hotspot. Opened in 2014, alongside other spate of small cocktail joints in the south-central area of the city, their menu isn’t too extensive by any means, however, their simple house selection is sure to get your night started. Enjoy the ambience with a Bloody Sifo made with pepper vodka, bloody sifo mix, celery, lime and pepper.
2. Bouchon Wine Bar
Located in a quaint colonial house situated in the city centre, Bouchon Wine Bar specialises in French wines that are directly imported from France. The two-storey bar allows customers to choose between a balcony view or a terrace garden seating, both of which offer a picturesque setting to relax with a tipple but have a different vibe. The outdoor terrace allows you to nibble on tapas and grilled food barbecued right in front of you, while the indoor balcony seating area is where you can enjoy French classic dishes with your choice of wine.
3. Hub Street Cocktails
Hub Street Cocktails has come a long way from what used to be a humble street vendor business of pre-mixed cocktails a that continued to steadily gain popularity. The brightly lit interior is furnished with street side low tables and walls lined with bamboo gives the bar a nostalgic atmosphere to locals and a fascinating experience for tourists. With its summer party vibe, Hub Street Cocktails is certainly one of the most lively and fun bars on the scene. Hub Street Cocktails is temporarily closed due to covid-19, so do check its Facebook page for updates.
4. Hanger 44
Hanging from the ceiling via chunky metal chains, a Franken-Scrambler bike dominates Hangar 44. Perfect for the motorcar enthusiasts, the owners combined their own love of motorcycles and cocktails to open a bar adorned with gas canisters, custom bikes and mud-dashed biker gear. This high energy bar serves a carefully curated menu from wines to beers and ciders including the Hangar Cooler Cocktail made from Russian Standard vodka, fresh watermelon, mint, lime, lemonade and cranberry.
5. Le Boutier
A family brand named after Cambodia’s “Golden Age”, Le Boutier‘s goal is to provide superior hospitality and tailor-made cocktails for every guest that pays a visit to their bar. The minimalist interior is only a front for what’s on the menu – a whole selection of ’50s inspired original cocktails. The Cambodian Space Cocktail – named after the charismatic Channthy Kak when she was a regular – is a firm favourite. However, the most pertinent cocktail is Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, made with vodka, sticky rice syrup, ginger longan and lime. It is named after the 2015 music documentary film of the same name, which tells the story of 1960s and ’70s Khmer rock before the Khmer Rouge regime decimated the scene. Le Boutier is temporarily closed due to covid-19, so do check its Facebook page for updates.
6. Sundown Social Club
Sitting three stories high above the rooftops of Russian Market, The tropical-themed Sundown Social Club boasts a fantastic view of the night sky with a ceiling that’s half-open. Perch yourself on one of their rattan bar stools or chairs and enjoy the cool vacation-like atmosphere that’ll make you forget you are in the frenetic city. Cocktails have a retro Miami Vice-style bent, which you can pair with burgers, tacos and hot dogs. Or get yourself a refreshing pitcher of sangria or boozy iced teas to share. Jive to the beat with their Friday night DJ sets that promises a great start to the weekend.
7. Le Moon Rooftop
Get a spectacular bird’s eye view of the city at the rooftop bar of Le Moon Rooftop. Located at the epicentre of main entertainment hub, Riverside, the bar overlooks two rivers – Mekong and Tonle Sap. Here’s where you can shoot the breeze with your pals while knocking back cocktails that range from original concoctions to classics. Pair your drinks with finger foods and small plates or share a Butcher’s Board, Fisherman’s board or cold cuts with your companions. Le Moon Rooftop is temporarily closed due to covid-19, so do check its Facebook page for updates.
3 long-time Phnom Penh bar favourites to try
Elephant Bar – Established in 1929, the famous cocktail bar at Raffles Hotel Le Royal, is the classiest venue in town. Try the afternoon tea before rounding off with the famous Femme Fatale, first concocted for Jacqueline Kennedy during her visit to Cambodia in 1967.
Metro Hassakan – Formerly known as Cafe Metro, Metro Hassakan is endearingly called the “place to meet”, because of its ability to bring people from all walks of life together to enjoy their casual atmosphere.
FCC – Opened in 1993 to quench the thirst of international journalists, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club is all whirring fans and riverside views.
Phnom De Scène
Other venues adding to the eclectic scene –
Farm To Table – With a leafy, airy courtyard, this place has quickly gained popularity for its laid-back vibe and commitment to healthy, sustainable food by supporting the local organic farming scene.
Azure Bar and Grill – In the heart of Phnom Penh’s Russian Market area lies this casual restaurant and cocktail bar. Azure Bar and Grill serves comforting Western-styled cuisine such as burgers, fish and chips and pastas and pizzas in an open air setting lit with dreamy fairy lights.
Intégrité – This intriguing restaurant/bar/café/boutique offers Bruneian and Thai fusion cuisine in a cosy French colonial-style décor.
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This article was originally published in the September 2018 issue of Silkwinds magazine and updated on 17 March 2021.